Being a grad student comes with endless responsibilities – attending lectures, completing readings, submitting essays, presentations, and homework. If you’re struggling to make sense of all the academic work, worry not! Here are some handy tips that help you improve your note-taking during lectures.
Here are our expert note-taking strategies that help you get the most out of lectures:
Avoid taking notes in random notebooks or papers. Instead, organize all your notes in one place using a separate notebook or digital file for each subject. This brings us to the next tip,
There’s no right or wrong way to take notes. It all depends on your comfort levels and school rules. If your university allows laptops or iPads, you can consider taking notes digitally. However, several studies indicate that taking handwritten notes is more effective as it helps you remember and recollect the information better.
Whenever you take notes in class, ensure that you label the top of every page with the following information:
This helps you retrieve them easily during study sessions.
Note-taking is not a test for your typing or writing speeds. You don’t have to write down every word the professor says. Instead, take notes of key points, themes and arguments in the lecture. Some universities offer recorded lessons to go back and check if you have missed vital points.
It’s easy to lose your attention during day lectures. Ensure that you take adequate rest before class hours so that you don’t dose off during lectures. Listen attentively and jot down key points and examples. These key points can help you do better in exams and improve your grades.
Sometimes lecturers draw attention to specific keywords and phrases. These are important words that form the crux of the topic. You can underline these words and phrases using highlighters so that it’s easy to remember them while studying.
You don’t have to learn shorthand to improve your note-taking skills. Come up with a shorthand and abbreviation system that makes it easy to understand words while improving your note-taking speeds. For example, you can use words like “btw” instead of “between” and so on.
Effective note-taking is not just noting down everything the lecturer says. Make sure that you ask questions or clarifications on topics you’re not confident with. If you’re still unable to understand something the lecturer says, you can meet them after class hours to clarify your doubts.
It’s always a good idea to share and compare notes with your classmates. They might have noted a few key points that you may have missed and vice versa. This helps you build comprehensive notes that you can use during your study sessions.
It’s always a good idea to turn off your mobile phone so that you’re not distracted by the constant notifications. At the very least, put your mobile in do not disturb mode and keep it in your pocket or out of sight during class hours.
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